Stuart McLean Permanently Affected

Tearful news conference

Jun 4th, 2010 | By Coco Cabrera | Category: Arts

CBC radio personality Stuart McLean has announced that he has Audience Induced Ego Vocalization, or Liberace Syndrome, and that, while the condition may be treatable, doctors have given him little hope for a cure. True to the diagnosis of Liberace Syndrome, Stuart McLean announced that in the future he will be known simply as “McLean.”


At a Toronto press conference, McLean became tearful as he admitted that, since a recording session six months ago, he has been unable to stop speaking in the affected, lugubrious sing-song of his stage persona.  The character McLean plays has been compared to a cross between Jimmy Stewart, Garrison Keillor and the human interest journalist, “Stuart McLean”, that McLean used to perform regularly on Morningside, a 1970s radio program popular with housewives.

“I just cannot stop speaking like this,” said McLean. “It’s unbearable.”

Dr. Rachel Sanderson, a leading researcher on Liberace Syndrome at the Worcester Clinic, said that McLean would be checking into a vocal rehabilitation program where he would receive treatment for the chronic ailment.  “We can reduce his fructose levels, but whether he can ever regain his voice is largely up to him,” said Sanderson.  Other medical experts who have listened to recent recordings of McLean’s show, The Vinyl Cafe, doubted that anything could be done.

The radio program, which has been on the air for 74 years, features McLean reading infinite permutations of “Dave and Morley” tales that recount heart-warming happenings in the life of a second-hand record store owner and his White heteronormal family as they go about their daily business in an upscale Toronto neighbourhood.  The story-telling is wrapped in free programming elicited from listeners, and cute comments about whatever town McLean is performing in. “It’s great to be back home in Toronto,” said McLean. “I can’t stop, I can’t stop.”

Therapy at the Worcester Clinic is believed to involve  forced group readings of novels by William S. Burroughs, sadomasochistic encounters with strangers that do not end in redemption, and sociology classes on the real spectrum of family life in contemporary North America.

While today most frequent among aging media workers, the condition suffered by McLean was first diagnosed among traveling salesmen during the Great Depression.  Audience Induced Ego Vocalization took on the “Liberace” sobriquet following that artist’s much-publicized battle with the disease.

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